Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers
Company A, Inc.
Cedar Creek Event Report
October 17-19, 2003
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Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation
October 19 / 64.
Cedar Creek, Virginia
As you might know by this time from the Papers that there has been a great rout and then a great victory around these parts here in the the past week. I will not examine all the general news for you, but will strive to tell you our little piece of the story here in this letter.
We were all starting to converge here on the Friday evening, but the rains were driving hard, and many were left to their own devices for shelter on the way. The most of our company seemed to land at the same time in a field along the Valley Pike, where we took shelter in the wagons for several hours of the most severe rains. After a good long time, it became apparent that we all had to make the choice to either formally arrive in camp as darkness set in, or sleep upright on the wagons. Therefore, we all got ourselves braced for the weather, and proceeded to our camps. The dogs went up in record time, and we all crawled in for the night of soaking up the wet ground under us.
Morning came, and found us in the company of the battalion, full up and strong. Breakfast rations were drawn, cooked, and relished after our hard trip. Of course, the army proceeded to treat this as any other day, and therefore, we were drilled, drilled, and drilled some more. We set out the color line and stacks at reveille, and the guard was put over them. Our battalion drill focused for the most part on column to line, and line to column evolutions. After a time, the movements became automatic, and the captains of the line were versed in dressing left or right, and so the movements were sublime. We retired to the camps for dinner.
We were called into line in the first part of the afternoon, and marched directly off to the left of our lines in column. We were ordered to advance into a slot between two other battalions, which we did, and then advanced in line of battle, first slowly, and then with faster and quicker paces. We were obliqued to the right, and down over the brow of the hill that the guns were on, to the right of a white house in a ravine, and we engaged the rebels there at close distance. Our vollies were quick and crisp, and the rebels melted away in disorder to our front, so we advanced along the general line, and flushed them over the creek and back from whence they came.
That evening, after the obligatory cleaning of weapons, we were visited by one Mrs. Johnson, who was a colored lady and her son, Pepperidge. They were first rate entertainment, and they got us all involved in their minstrel show after a time, and all were jolly over it.
In the morning, we were called out of our rolls well before dawn, and got into line, and marched off to the south. We of the USV 3d battalion were put into skirmish line along the opposite side of a creek, and in the low of the following hill. We were the advance guard for the brigades, and for the Corps. Once in place, it became apparent that the Rebels were on the move early that morning as well, and were marching against our left, center and right all at once. We did our beset to resist them, and even tried to push their center, but soon enough, our right flank was in question, so that we were obliged to give some ground, and form in line of battle on the Union side of the creek. Once there, it grieves me to tell you that the Confederate push on the left flank was successful, and so that in the pre dawn dark, we were taken in the rear by an enemy battalion. We were obliged to invert our arms, surrender, and due to the extremity of the actions around us, the southern commander allowed us to be paroled, whence we returned to our camps, not to fight again that morning. There was a good deal of confusion in the dark, and as I had on my Connecticut greatcoat, I was more than once approached in the dark by rebel riders, asking me to bring up the battalion in support.. golly.. gone.
A dress parade was held in the forenoon, where our Gen Heim conducted a battalion firing competition amongst the battalions of the brigade. First regiment was good, second was a little ragged, and third was crisp, but for one indiscreet little quick finger, so the campaigns prize went to First Regt. Hurrah for the boys, it is all in good fun.
But that afternoon, we were called into line in earnest wit the long roll, as the rebels were descending on our camps in great numbers, routing the front of the army quickly. We of the 43NY and the VI Corps had enough time to get our packs together and fall in with good order, so we were some of the first substantial line that the Rebels ran into there. Yet, we were bent back,and were obliged to withdraw in good order towards Middletown. Soon enough, about the late of the after noon, our own beloved Gen. Sheridan came riding amongst us, and implored us to go forward, and take back our own camps. The cheer went up, and so did the Union line all along the front. We swept them over two miles, and they finally got scart and skeddaddled. They got plugged up on a bridge over the river I hear, and our boys had the best of them, and took back all they captured early that day, along with many more prisoners and stores that once belonged to Jeff Davis. With that accomplished, we were free to pack, and we were dismissed to our own companies. Thus ended the grand campaign of 1864, and we all went into Winter Quarters directly.
Write soon, as I have not hada letter in a long time. Direct as usual, since the mails will follow us to where we are.
Your affectionate friend.
Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers, Co.A, Inc.